Top 10 races of all time in F1

Modified 20 Mar 2019
Top 5 / Top 10

Formula 1 has got a long history. Throughout this time there have been several great drivers in the sport, and with great drivers, there also have been great races.

Since its inception in 1950, more than 850 Formula 1 races have been held at different parts of the world. Thus, it is near to impossible to pick just 10 best races out of the plethora of races.

Below, I have tried to enlist the most exciting and enthralling races, which had audiences on the edge of their seats. But I have not included controversial races like the 1989 and 1990 Japanese Grand Prix, 2010 Turkish Grand Prix, or the more recent the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.

All the entries below are solely based on the main objective of Formula 1 that is pure racing.

10) 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

The 2012 Formula 1 Season came down to the last race of the season. Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, trailed Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull by just 13 points. The mixed conditions during the race, provided for one of the most gripping finales in Formula 1.

Hamilton took pole, while the championship rivals Alonso and Vettel were 7th and 4th respectively. At the start, Alonso made a cracking start and made up to fifth, while his rival dropped back to seventh.

Vettel was struggling and at turn 4, collided with Bruno Senna, due to which he dropped down to the back of the grid and had also sustained damage on his diffuser. While during this time, Massa helped his teammate Alonso in overtaking Webber, which moved him up to third and in championship winning place, but he lost this place to Hulkenberg a few laps later.

Vettel had been consistently moving up the field, when it started to rain and he and several other drivers had to pit for wet tires. After the pits, Vettel was fifth and Alonso just ahead of him in fourth. But Vettel was overtaken by Massa and Kobayashi, which dropped him down further.

After the leaders Hulkenberg and Hamilton collided with each other, Alonso moved upto second, again with the help of his teammate Massa. Vettel was now running seventh, which was enough, but he got sixth place as a gift, when Schumacher let him go by without a fight in the final race of his career.

The race finally ended under safety car due to Paul di Resta’s crash and Vettel crossed the finish line to become the youngest ever triple world champion.

9) 2005 Japanese Grand Prix

The 2005 Japanese Grand Prix, held at the legendary Suzuka Circuit, unfolded in an unexpected way as both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso drove an impressive drive to get to the podium. Especially, Raikkonen’s move on Fisichella on the last lap gave adrenaline rush to lot of fans watching the race

In qualifying, Ralf Schumacher took advantage of wet conditions to take pole, while the McLaren’s of Raikkonen and Montoya were 17th and 18th, and the championship leader Alonso was 16th.

In contrast to the previous day, the sun was shining bright on the race day. At the start of the race, Ralf Scumacher lead, as Fisichella passed Button for second, Alonso moved up to eighth, while Raikkonen struggled and conceded several positions.

Later in the race, after Ralf’s pitstop, Fisichella was promoted into the lead. Well behind him, Alonso went around the outside of Michael Schumacher and overtook him. Then, Raikkonen hounded Schumacher for a while until their pitstops and they both came out ahead of Alonso.

Later, Raikkonen passed Schumacher for fourth and set in pursuit of Button and Webber, while, Alonso started to close the gap to Raikkonen, after passing Schumacher. During this time Fisichella had a healthy lead of 20 seconds over Button. Raikkonen, then charged through Button and Webber and went in pursuit of Fisichella. As the end of the race approached, Kimi closed the gap between him Fisichella to just 5 seconds, while Alonso went past Webber for a spot on the podium.

At the first corner of the last lap, Raikkonen masterfully went to the outside of Fisichella and snatched the lead from him. He eventually won the race, with the two Renault’s behind him.

8) 1988 Japanese Grand Prix

This year’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka was one of the most terrific drives of Senna’s career, albeit under the pressure of losing the championship and it showed truly how great a racer he really was.

The 1988 Formula 1 season went down to the wire between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, who had practically dominated the whole season.

In qualifying, Senna outpaced Prost to take pole position, which had almost for the whole season, been exchanged between the two.

At the start, Senna unexpectedly stalled his engine, while Prost blazed through to take the lead. Senna eventually got going, but he was now down in 14th place, and had a lot of catching up to do. He then started to move up the grid, passing six cars by the end of second lap, and getting ahead of four more cars at the end of fourth lap to gain fourth place. Around lap 14, rain arrived, which made it a fovourable condition for Senna, while Prost was having troubles with his gearbox.

As the race progressed, Senna was closing in on Prost. At lap 27, Senna was just behind the tail of Prost’s McLaren. On this lap, as they were crossing the backmarkers, Senna managed to force his way through, when Prost had been slowed by Andrea de Cesaris’ Rial. Senna, then went on to win the race and also the title.

7) 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix

The Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, held host to one of the closest battles for the championship in recent history. Lewis Hamilton arrived at Brazil with 94 points, 7 points ahead of the Brazilian Felipe Massa. Hamilton needed to finish only fifth or higher to become champion, but the race went down to the wire.

Massa grabbed pole, while Hamilton was fourth. The race was delayed by around 10 minutes due to rain. At the start, Massa got a perfect getaway and lead the pack, and slowly as the track dried up, he extended his lead further. Lewis Hamilton on the other hand, gave all his strength to maintain or move higher than fifth place. The latter part of the race was again hit by rain, due to which many drivers pittted for wet tyres.

When Hamilton came out after the pits, he joined in sixth place. He had Vettel just behind him and could not afford to let him pass, but when he slid wide on a corner, Vettel grabbed the opportunity and overtook him. Still at the last lap, Hamilton was in sixth place, trying to catch Vettel, but now Vettel had overtook Glock, who had not pitted and slowly his race pace was dying away.

Hamilton was informed about him on the radio, and as Massa took the chequerd flag to win the race, Hamilton overtook Glock at the last corner of the race to gain fifth position and moreover also the championship. Thus, Hamilton became World Champion by just one point, in what was one of the most nail biting finales of recent history.

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Published 06 Dec 2013
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